In a battle between youth and experience, world #17 Roberto Bautista Agut takes on Italian young gun Matteo Berrettini for the Swiss Open title in Gstaad. Bautista Agut has at times struggled to find his best tennis this season, particularly at the Slams, and has also had to contend with injury, but has nonetheless found his fair share of success. Berrettini, meanwhile, is still finding his feet on the main Tour but will doubtless be desperate to claim the title. Who will come out on top?
Bautista Agut and Berrettini have never met before on Tour, but there is no doubt as to which man brings the greater experience to the court. Berrettini only broke into the top 100 for the first time earlier this year and has just 11 career wins to his name, all of which have come this season. In contrast, there are few more established on the Tour than Bautista Agut who has 237 wins and has lifted eight titles, including two earlier this year.
Path to the final
Bautista Agut, the second seed in Gstaad, received a first round bye which saw him begin his campaign against his compatriot Jaume Munar, who he battled past 2-6 6-3 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. There he faced Japan’s Taro Daniel, who upset Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells earlier this year. But he never truly threatened to knock Bautista Agut off his perch, and the Spaniard advanced a 7-5 6-1 winner. He then escaped Serbia’s Laslo Djere 6-7 6-4 6-4 to reach his third final of the year.
Berrettini, unseeded, opened his tournament with a confident 6-4 6-2 victory over Moldova’s Radu Albot. That set up a clash with fourth seed Andrey Rublev, who was playing just his second tournament since April after a back injury. Berrettini was in control throughout and emerged a 6-3 6-3 victor. The Italian then impressed in beating the veteran eighth seed Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-3 to reach the semifinals, where he beat Jurgen Zopp of Estonia 6-4 7-6.
How do they match up?
Bautista Agut is one of the most accomplished baseliners in the sport, having worked hard to build a game devoid of any real weaknesses. Though his lack of major weapons has prevented him from ever mounting a serious challenge at the game’s biggest events, except for an impressive run to the final in Shanghai two years ago, his consistent groundstrokes and good movement have long kept him near to the top of the rankings tree.
When he does look to go on the offensive, however, he relies for the most part on his forehand and it is that shot that Berrettini will need to watch for. The Italian is not entirely dissimilar in style to his opponent, albeit a little less polished. Like Bautista Agut, he moves well and is generally consistent from the back of the court. One area he has an advantage over Bautista Agut is when stepping to the line. Against Zopp he made an impressive 71% of his first serves, winning the point 87% of the time.
Berrettini has done well to reach his first Tour-level final and hasn’t yet dropped a set. But he will face a significant step up in quality against Roberto Bautista Agut. And whilst the occasion may get to Berrettini, Bautista Agut will surely be better able to keep his composure, having already competed in 14 finals. Berrettini has the quality to make his opponent work for the win, but the second seed has the quality to get it. Bautista Agut in three.